Not sure how old this apple tree is, when I was a kid I can remember there was four of them in a row. This is the last one, I would say at least 70 to 80 years old.
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This old tree has some of the best apples ever.
I think it would be neat to cut a couple of branches off and graft them to some root stock just to save the genetics of this tree.
The thing of starting the seeds is it is not the true genetics of the tree, it could be a cross pollination of this tree and another tree. If you take the cutting and graft it to root stock then the same genetics are carried over.
At least that is the way I understand it, I could be wrong.
That's my understanding, as well... apple trees do not breed true, and that is how they maintain their genetic strength. I've read that that (the inherent need to change) is also why "fixed" varieties that are forced to stay that way (like "Delicious") slowly change and degrade over the years. Today's Delicious is not the original Delicious.
That being said, I started apple seedlings from seeds from my old tree. Next nearest apple tree is about 1/2 mile away. Check back in a few years to see if they bred true.
You don't need an arborist to start seeds. I planted about 20 seeds in 4 large pots and buried the pots outside in a sheltered area for the winter (the seeds need to freeze, or "stratify" to germinate.) I had 13 seedlings start, which I divided into 13 smaller pots. After that summer, I had 5 survivors about 8-10" tall, that I planted in a protected area (protected from me mowing them accidentally... the deer chomped on a few of them.) They are now ready to move, and I don't have a final home ready for them!
That's an impressive tree trunk (or lack of!) My old tree is at least that old, has 2 main arms, and one is completely hollow. It was neglected, so now it is about 40 ft tall and tough to prune and harvest. It makes awesome apples (on good years), and plenty of them. I think is is the old "Wealthy" variety. August maturing, tart and crisp, but did not catch on, I assume because it turns brown almost immediately after you bite into it. Does not keep well, so I make a lot of applesauce.
This farm dates back to a land grant (of which I have) given by Andrew Johnson (at the time the Govenor of Tennessee). The old original road went past where these trees were located. I think there might have been an apple orchard in this area at one time. I am really surprised the cows have not pushed it over rubbing against it. When the apple start to fall the cows will stand around waitng for them to hit the ground.